Jets secondary faces major test with Bills’ passing attack

Jets secondary key task sunday
New York Jets cornerback Michael Carter II (30) tackles Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
AP Photos

Despite their struggles on Sunday against the New England Patriots, the New York Jets still are one of the big surprises in the NFL with a 5-3 record. 

A big reason for New York’s success has been a secondary that has gone from one of the worst in the league to a force to be reckoned with. The new-look unit is ranked in the top 10 in passing yards allowed, ninth in touchdowns given up, and fifth in net yards gained per passing attempt. 

Sunday will offer a much different challenge though. 

The Buffalo Bills roll into MetLife Stadium with the top passing offense in the NFL. MVP candidates Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs are circling the wagons in Buffalo to the tune of a 6-1 record. 

Any other year, the Jets would not be blamed for struggling to compete against an offensive juggernaut like Buffalo. The offense has struggled mightily in recent games with calls for a quarterback change growing by the week.

It’s not the same on the defensive side though. Fourth-overall pick Sauce Gardner and fifth-year veteran DJ Reed have transformed the Jets’ secondary into a lethal combination of size, speed, and swagger.

Gardner’s swagger especially has been a key change to the Jets’ woes in recent years. Even a 22-17 loss to the Patriots on Sunday wasn’t enough to deter the confidence the Cincinnati product has in his team. 

“They (the Bills) present a huge challenge. Having a lot of weapons, having a quarterback that can throw the ball and do it with his legs…I feel like we have what it takes with the guys here to stop it.” Gardner told reporters. 

The idea of Gardner traveling along wherever Diggs goes is a major key to the Jets’ success on Sunday. If Gardner can clamp down on the number one receiver from the Bills, New York would be just a little bit closer to pulling off the upset. 

“They move him around a lot for sure but I feel like I’m going to be matched up with him for sure,” Gardner said. 

New York’s struggles against Buffalo are well documented. The Jets have lost five straight games with each loss coming with two scores. The Jets’ secondary will be asked and tasked with solving the difficult question of solving the Bills’ vaunted passing attack. 

With the Bills at 6-1, no team before them has been able to solve the Josh Allen conundrum. If there’s a secondary that can do it though, it’s in New York. 

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